Paul Simon: Live from Philadelphia

If you’ve already purchased the Paul Simon “Live at the Tower Theatre” DVD that was released in 2003, then there’s no need to bother with “Live from Philadelphia,” because it’s exactly the same concert, transferred from grainy video footage to present the same truncated 10/7/80 show – something Eagle really should have done a better job of making clear on this “new” title’s packaging. If, however, you don’t own “Tower Theatre,” and don’t mind suffering through the vagaries of the poorly aged footage, then “Live from Philadelphia” isn’t a bad way to spend $10. For one thing, Simon was touring with a terrific band: Steve Gadd on drums, Tony Levin on bass, Richard Tee on keyboards, and Eric Gale on guitar, offering the same New York-spun mellow urban vibe that typified Simon’s recordings of the era. For another thing, Simon – usually not the most scintillating live performer – was in high spirits during this show, stopping to interact with the audience a time or two (at one point, he even tells someone whose view he suspects may be obstructed to just come down and stand in front of the stage, joking that he isn’t sure whether it’s against the rules, but “it’s okay with me”). The set list might dwell a little too heavily on One Trick Pony for some, and it certainly doesn’t include any must-hear versions of the 11 songs presented here, but it does provide a glimpse of Simon during a time when he was beginning what was to become a decades-long struggle to redefine himself, the performances are uniformly tight, and the price is right. Just make sure you don’t already own it.

Click to buy “Paul Simon: Live from Philadelphia”


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